Women and men can now relieve pain through a massage that pays attention to an often ignored body part — the breasts.
The Chopra Center in Carlsbad, located at the Omni La Costa Resort and Spa, began offering the breast massages in mid-August as part of their "Ayurvedic" spa, which offers a dozen different treatments, meditation and yoga.
Ayurveda is a 5,000-year-old Indian treatment that stimulates the connection between the mind and body.
"Traditionally in Ayurveda, there's no part of the body we miss," said Jennifer Johnson, spa director at the Chopra Center. "When we started, we weren't addressing the breasts here in California because of some different regulations. We found that there was a large part of the population that actually needed this work."
Most massage parlors are not licensed to massage breasts due to state regulations.
About a year and a half ago, the center received state authorization for the breast massages and began training its female massage therapists, known as healing arts masters.
Johnson said the massages — which require a recommendation from a physician and pay attention to all areas around the breast from the sternum to the back of the skull by moving lymphatic fluids — are beneficial for physical and mental stress.
The healing arts masters are trained to deal with any emotions that might result from the stress relief.
The breasts are only 10 percent of the actual treatment, Johnson said. Patients may either keep their shirts on or go topless.
"We're opening up all of the muscles in the area," Johnson explained. "This is about the other restrictions that are happening throughout the body."
Lymphatic fluid can only move three ways: through manual manipulation, movement and breath, Johnson noted. Bras constrict the breasts, which can make it harder for the fluid to move around properly, and therefore cause congestion.
The massage can help relieve fluid buildup that can cause pain in areas such as the chest, neck and back.
Johnson said the massage can help people recognize abnormalities in their bodies.
The treatment, which costs $215 and is available to everyone and not just Omni guests, is ideal for all people, especially women. It can also help detect diseases like breast cancer early.
"The number one thing we have for women against breast cancer is finding it early," Johnson said. "Having that awareness of your body can help you notice changes and find abnormalities early."
The Chopra Center is located at the Omni La Costa Resort and Spa, 2013 Costa Del Mar Road in Carlsbad. For more information, call 760-494-1648 or visit www.chopra.com.